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Spotlight: University of Florida University Center Program Empowers Women in Innovation

With diversity critical to the success of innovation in the U.S., research cited by the University of Florida (UF) shows that there is still a significant disparity in the numbers of women entrepreneurs and innovators.

To help fill the gap and boost our national competitiveness, the UF EDA University Center (UFUC) created the Collaboratory for Women Innovators to help inspire, educate, and empower women to attain leadership roles in all phases of the innovation life cycle.

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Success Story: Purchase of Business with EDA Revolving Loan Fund Assistance a Smooth Process for New Owner of Durango, Colorado’s Waxed Salon

For Jenna Morrison, business ownership was not a lifelong goal attained after years of planning. It was an unexpected opportunity in which she has found her footing, and hasn’t looked back since.

Morrison is the owner of Waxed, Durango’s only fully esthetic service-focused salon. From hair removal to eyebrow sculpting, Waxed offers a full menu of services for their 2,000-plus-and-growing client base.

When Morrison learned that the previous owner wanted to sell in the fall of 2016, she said having someone else take over the business was never an option.

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Highlight: Women-led Economic Development Districts Making a Difference in EDA’s Denver Region

EDA-funded Economic Development Districts (EDDs) - multi-jurisdictional entities, commonly composed of multiple counties and in certain cases even cross-state borders - play a vital role in leading the locally-based, regionally driven economic development planning process that leverages the involvement of the public, private and non-profit sectors to establish a strategic blueprint for regional collaboration.

Many of the EDD’s in EDA’s Denver Region are led by women and they are using their unique perspectives to drive the planning process in their organizations’ service areas.

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Spotlight on Commerce: Pam Smith, Administrative Director for the Chicago Regional Office, U.S. Economic Development Administration

Pam Smith, Administrative Director for the Chicago Regional Office, U.S. Economic Development Administration I am very honored to participate in the Department of Commerce’s celebration of Women’s History Month. I joined the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) in October 2017 as the Administrative Director for the Chicago Regional Office. In this role I serve as the administrative advisor to the Regional Director and Area Directors, in the areas of human resources, budget justification and execution, information technology, procurement, property management, and facilities management. I also oversee the administration and program analysis for the region’s Partnership Planning Program and Environmental/Disaster functions.

Prior to joining EDA, I served in various leadership roles in human resources within the U.S. Department of Labor, including Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey Program Manager in the Office of Employee Engagement.

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EDA AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Works with Acadiana Planning Commission to Boost Region’s Capacity to Create Economic Opportunity

Acadiana Planning Commission CEO, Monique Boulet, EDA AmeriCorps VISTA Keithen Domingue, EDA Austin Regional Director Jorge Ayala and University of Louisiana Lafayette President APC Board Member-Ex-Officio, Dr. Joseph Savoie pose during press conference announcing federal economic development district designation. Keithen Domingue serves as the AmeriCorps VISTA Environmental Justice Community Organizer for the Acadiana Planning Commission located in Lafayette, Louisiana. His assignment is to work on the brownfield sites located in Lafayette’s Four Corners area, with a focus on the analysis and development of commercial cleanup and re-use.

Domingue grew up in Nashville, Tennessee where he witnessed wealth disparity in both urban and rural communities. Domingue's passion for community engagement was stirred as he grappled with the disturbing images of poverty.

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Spotlight: EDA and HBCUs: Partners for Inclusion and Competitiveness

Jonathan M. Holifield, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black College and Universities Over the past several decades, the need to address the twin troubles of income inequality and staggering wealth disparities has gained considerable traction in the U.S. These worries are exacerbated and long-standing among those principally served by historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Since 1837, HBCUs have been educating and preparing, primarily, but far from exclusively, African American students – nearly a quarter of HBCU students are non-Black – to contribute to the American experience. Specifically, these institutions help shape good citizens, as well as fill the nation’s dual pipeline of productivity: providing diversely talented employees and creating employment opportunities.

At the end of the day, economic development creates conditions for economic growth and improved quality of life. Such conditions include nurturing new community systems or ecosystems comprised of collaborative institutions focused on advancing mutual gain for the public and the private sector.

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Success Story: HBCU’s work to create wealth, builds healthy and sustainable communities

HBCU logo Historically Black Colleges and Universities have made extraordinary contributions to the general welfare and prosperity of the United States while producing many leaders in business, government, academia, and the military.

Through the implementation of the Executive Order Promoting Excellence and Innovation at HBCUs, President Trump hopes that these institutions will continue to serve as important engines of economic growth, public service, and intergenerational advancement. > Read more

Highlight: Operation Hope Expands Critical Business Empowerment Program

Operation Hope logo EDA grantee Operation HOPE, Inc., a nonprofit public benefit organization, is committed to the revitalization of under‐served communities through the provision of economic empowerment, financial literacy, conversion programs and services.

To help people in these communities - many of whom have difficulty getting business advice and start-up funding - reach their full entrepreneurial potential, EDA has invested in Operation Hope to help them implement their critical business empowerment program, the HOPE Inside Small Business Empowerment Initiative (SBEI). > Read more

Spotlight on Commerce: Robin D. Bush, U.S. Economic Development Administration (Commerce Blog)

Photo of Robin Bush, U.S. Economic and Development Administration I manage the environmental program and the investment strategies of the Chicago Regional Office (CRO) of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). My primary responsibility is to administer the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act as they apply to programs of EDA within the six-state region of the CRO. I also advise CRO staff on strategies that guide EDA investments in the region. I represent the Chicago office on environmental related matters with state and federal regulators. I review and assess investments based on their applicability and conformance with NEPA and NHPA. I also, prepare and update the investment strategies and plans for the CRO and train staff on the strategies and plans.

I grew up in Buffalo, New York. I was bussed to elementary school and high school that was in a white, middle-class area because my parents thought I would get a better education. I really enjoyed the diversity of my elementary and high schools and thinking back it made me a better person. I decided I wanted to grow up and do something to make neighborhoods, communities, and cities more integrated, racially and economically.

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Spotlight on Commerce: Darmika Stanfield, U.S. Economic and Development Administration (Commerce Blog)

Photo of Darmika Stanfield As a Congressional Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), I work hard every day to do my part in improving the quality of life for hundreds of communities. By working closely with EDA regional officials and congressional representatives, I do my best to help advance a foundation for sustainable economic growth throughout the United States. Working for the federal government for a little over 14 years has given me an opportunity to explore a path that ultimately led to this awesome career and now I have the greatest satisfaction in creating a sense of community.

I was born and raised in Washington, D.C., in a two-parent household where it was ingrained in me to never define myself by a single idea. As the youngest child and only girl of three, I knew very early that the power to change perception, to inspire and empower, and to show people something different rested in me.

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